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Complaint Free Week Day 2: Attitude of Gratitude

With a challenge at the bottom of this post!

For those of you who haven't heard about complaint free week yet, read this!

But in the meantime, I have been going strong for two days trying not to complain. I don't think I've managed very well, truth be told. I tend to complain without really realizing it.

Often I don't call it complaining. I call it "offering helpful observations". Or I call it "disciplining my children". But complaining is complaining!

So let's try to get a definition of complaining so it's all out in the open and we know exactly what we're talking about:

According to my dictionary, complain means: to express dissatisfaction, pain, uneasiness, censure, resentment, or grief; find fault.

It's that last one I struggle with. To find fault. I like finding fault with things. Maybe it's because it makes me feel superior, or because it deflects from my own defects. But whatever it is, I'm an expert at it.

Later in this week I'm going to talk about complaining and marriage; complaining and kids; complaining and responsibilities; and complaining vs. humility. But today I want to look at a general antidote to complaining, and that's gratitude.

There's a great Far Side cartoon that I can't reproduce here because of copyright issues, but it shows two lines at a customer service area. One says "Complaints". The other says "Gratitude". The complaints line is full, but the gratitude one is empty.

Gratitude is the polar opposite of complaining. When we feel grateful, we can't complain. If we realize how blessed we are, how can we express dissatisfaction, unease, or find fault? We're focused on what we have, not what we don't have.

So how can you cultivate gratitude today? What are you grateful for? I've been through periods of my life when it was hard to express gratitude. When my son was terminally ill, did I feel grateful? Nope. But I started writing out, every night, five things that I was grateful for that day. They may have been little things, like that he opened his eyes to look at me, or that I saw a beautiful sunset. But I wrote them down.

And the neat thing about that exercise is that I had to keep track of things during the day, so I'd have something to write down at night. I had to think about gratitude, rather than grief.

Today, thankfully, no one in my family is terminally ill. They just simply have a hard time making their beds, practising piano without being told, doing their chores, being nice to each other, and getting out of bed on time. In general they're great kids, but daily I have these annoyances.

So what is my response? Do I complain, or do I express gratitude that I have healthy, wonderful, fun children?

Gratitude doesn't mean that we don't discipline or act like a parent. It simply means that we do so with the attitude of love for them. It's a heart change.

And what about your circumstances? Maybe you're struggling with money right now, and that's getting you down. Maybe your house just isn't big enough, and it's hard to keep clean and in order. Whatever it is, it makes daily life difficult. Fair enough.

But complaining makes what is already difficult even worse. So pick several times during the day to say thanks to God. Recognize what you do enjoy. Do what you enjoy! Share what you enjoy! Focus on what you have, and you just may find that the urge to complain goes away.

So here's your challenge for Complaint Free Week Day 2: Write down five things a day that you're grateful for. If you're not a writing kind of a person, then pray them out loud before you eat dinner tonight or before you go to bed. But keep track of them! You'll find your brain starts going in a different direction!

Today's podcast will be about how to cultivate an attitude of gratitude! Check back; it will be up soon!

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To Love, Honor and Vacuum



At 8:41 AM , Blogger Melissa, Multi-Tasking Mama said…

to find fault- that is the one I was struggling with yesterday. I have found that with this no complaining thing I am maintaining a stronger sense of humor :-)


At 11:30 AM , Anonymous Jen-After the Alter said…

I have already failed in my complaint free week:( I have been complaining about the cold weather and even blogged about it! Oopppss! I guess back to square ONE!



At 11:31 AM , Blogger kelli said…

today I am going to make it a goal to focus on my 5 things that I am grateful for!

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About Me

Name: Sheila

Home: Belleville, Ontario, Canada

About Me: I'm a Christian author of a bunch of books, and a frequent speaker to women's groups and marriage conferences. Best of all, I love homeschooling my daughters, Rebecca and Katie. And I love to knit. Preferably simultaneously.

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